Smallest water softeners?

Hi all,
I need to get a water softener (the salt/resin ones, not the electronic/magnetic ones), but have very limited space where to put it. Is anyone aware of a comparison table somewhere on the net that would give dimensions across a range of these things? Alternatively, can anyone recommend one that is particularly small?
TIA
Greg
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The resin ones are the only type that actually do soften the water. Other devices, including the phosphate dosing type, are conditioners which as a maximum will reduce scale.

The Kinetico 2020 is pretty small and will fit under a sink. These used to require blocks of salt, but will now run on tablets, which you may be able to get more cheaply.
I have one of their earlier models which has performed well for 18 years. This one has a separate salt reservoir to the rest of the works and could be fitted into very small spaces. Unfortunately they don't make this package any more.
You don't say what sort of capacity you need so it's important to start there.
Generally you will find that types similar to the Kinetico which have metering and two resin tanks will be the smallest. The unmetered, timed ones are cheaper but usually rather larger. The twin tank designs will switch over as required and regenerate the spent tank.

.andy
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Can you now just buy a Kinetico over the counter, or do you have to ask some otherwise unemployed scrote to come over and case the joint for a "survey" and then sell you one with a 400% mark up and "free" fitting?
Christian.
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I've just answered my own question. However, it still costs over a grand. The same website offers a Autotrol based on a "255 valve" apparently. This is a single cylinder metered with 2am regeneration.
It uses approximately 2.5kg of salt per regeneration to produce 2,500 litres (14 litres resin). Is this reasonable economy? Are the figures believable? I suppose the salt consumption would be slightly higher as it has to regenerate before the cylinder expires. I guess this cylinder will last about a week.
At half the price of the Kinetico, I'm tempted. However, do you think it will pass 40lpm without dropping excessive pressure, like the Kinetico claims to? I'm totally on mains pressure, not a tank in the place (except the heat bank).
Strangely, they also offer a Crown softener, which offers the "unique" features of non-electrical metering and twin resin cylinders. Yeaaaahhhsss (think Paxman). It takes block salt, so is automatically disqualified from my list.
Christian.
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On Thu, 08 Jan 2004 16:33:00 +0000, Christian McArdle wrote:

Methinks perhaps the Kinetico patent has expired - it'll not be long before the dual tank metered apporach takes over at a reduced price.
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On Thu, 8 Jan 2004 16:33:00 -0000, "Christian McArdle"

Thanks to both for your input so far. Care to share what website you're talking about? Cheers
Greg
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On Thu, 8 Jan 2004 16:33:00 -0000, "Christian McArdle"

There are quite a number of Autotrol based products around that work in this way. Generally they are larger since the principle is that they should meet your needs for 24 hours.
There are varying levels of control as well. Some will measure the water used and make a yes/no decision on whether to regenerate at the nominated time. Others vary the amount of regeneration based on the amount of water used. Some valves allow you to adjust the brine dosing rate (i.e. amount of salt used ) to match the degree of water hardness.

The degree of hardness of the water has a bearing on this. Some specs I've seen are at 200ppm, others 300ppm. You ucan get a tablet based test kit from B&Q to measure hardness.
I don't have metered water, neither do I measure the flow or volume. However, to give you an idea, in a household of 4, I get through a 25kg bag of salt about every 3-4 weeks.

The valve specifications show the flow/pressure drop graphs for the valve only. Obviously the resin tank(s) and hoses have an impact, which is why wide bore hoses are recommended. Logically, I would expect a larger tank to have a lower resistance to flow, but this would need to be checked.

You may find that when pressed, they will admit that it will use pebble salt as well. There can be an issue with some machines that they can't work with granular salt, because generally there is some kind of filtering arrangement around the brine collection with machines that will take granular salt so that undissolved grains can't be sucked into the valve. Pebble salt is more like blocks in this respect.

.andy
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Christian McArdle wrote:

I've had one of these for >15 years and its still going strong. It does have the Autotrol valve and was bought from Wickes. They are simple with little to go wrong. The only things I've had to replace over the years were the flap valves which were easy to obtain and fit. When the kids were at home we used approx 25kg bag salt a month ( 4 quid round here) but now its < half that. This is a very hard water area.. Its noticable that my neighbours who don't have one have got through 2 HW cylinders in that time and their bathroom ware etc is coated in limescale.
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On Thu, 8 Jan 2004 16:15:42 -0000, "Christian McArdle"

They do sell through dealers.
I was thinking of changing mine a few months ago, but it's still working OK, so I haven't. Kinetico gave me the names of three dealers in the local area (Basingstoke, Godalming and High Wycombe)
Most dealers sell several makes and usually have their own brand assembled from OEM components like Autotrol valves and cost somewhat less.
I bought my Kinetico unit from a dealer in Slough (although this was in 1985) and I can't find the name now. They were happy to sell the softener and a fitting kit for DIY install.
As far as the fitting part is concerned, it's worth getting wide bore hoses - the standard ones are washing machine types and restrict the flow.
I moved mine when the kitchen was refurbished and replaced the original valve assembly (which had small plastic valves) with an assembly I plumbed myself using lever ball valves and standard plumbing parts. Basically you need a double check valve in case the mains fails during the start of a regeneration and salty water would be sucked back. The remainder is then three valves - one inlet, one outlet and a bypass in case you need to remove the softener for any reason.
Some of the softeners have a means of controlling the metered regeneration. On the Kinetico, there is a geared cam arrangement driven by a paddle in the flow path. This slowly rotates and at a certain point trips the tank switch over and regeneration. You can get different metering cams to go in the top according to the hardness of the water. The default delivered one does 6 cycles per revolution - we upped ours to 7 because there was still some residual hardness. Other makes have methods which control the amount of water let into the salt tank which in turn controls the amount of saturated brine solution during a regeneration.

.andy
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Greg W wrote:

Mine is sadly just able to fit in a 500mm kichen unit.
But it will do teh sorts of flow rates needed for mains pressure system.
Samller one's are probably OK for softening a cold water tank type supply,.

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http://www.canterburywater.com /
Canterbury Kite. I fitted one for a neighbour about 12 months ago - it could be fitted below the sink unlike any other and appears to be as frugal on salt as they claim. They top up the salt container about every week with a few handfuls of salt tablets. I'll dig out their water consumption figures but for a family of two with quite a few weekend visitors and two power showers they are getting through about a bag of salt every 4 or 5 months.
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wrote:

Had a look at their website, it all sounds pretty good. Any insight on performance and impact on flow rate? Canterbury's claims are pretty impressive, any idea whether reality matches up?
Cheers
Greg
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Seems to do what it says. Where they have it under the sink the salt container is easy to fill, I'll try to get some photos a bit later and put them up for you to look at. He fitted it with a flow control valve (recommended by Canterbury Water) as the water pressure here is quite high. That has lowered the flow rate from the kitchen tap a bit (that is plumbed in between the flow control valve and water softener out of convenience). The outside taps also run off the softener, again simply because of convenience of not modifying the existing plumbing. That has lowered the flow rate from those taps to a point where an early fairly high capacity pressure washer won't run reliably off it - solved by using a plastic container as a water buffer.
Running costs are very low - a bag of general purpose salt tablets every few months and water consumption on recycling also appears to be minimal. They are on metered water and it hasn't made a noticeable impact on the amount they use. Other than chucking a bit of salt in it just sits there and does its job. Self install was easy.
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Peter Parry.
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Well, it looks like we've got a winner then... Thanks.
Greg
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Peter Parry wrote in message
That has lowered the flow rate from the kitchen tap a

Soft water is not recommended for drinking purposes. Kitchen cold tap is normally plumbed to bypass softener for this reason.
Regards Capitol
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On Tue, 13 Jan 2004 22:25:53 -0000, "Capitol"

In this case it is - the kitchen tap is taken from after the flow restrictor but before the softener.
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